In A.Q. Shipley's opinion, all is fair in love and war.
And war is what he'll get on Monday night when he faces one of the most ferocious defensive linemen in the NFL – the Lions' Ndamukong Suh.
Players around the NFL voted Suh the dirtiest player in the NFL in 2011 and 2012. The back-to-back "champion" has a laundry list of moves to his name, including body slams, cut blocks, arm-stomps and groin kicks.
Earlier this year, Suh received a $100,000 fine for an illegal block on Vikings center John Sullivan. It's the sixth time over his four-year career that he's been fined and it was the largest in NFL history for on-field conduct, not including money lost by players due to suspensions.
But Shipley, who will likely get a heavy dose of Suh on Monday night, has respect for the Lions' big man.
"I love the way he plays," Shipley said. "He plays hard and he plays passionate. You can't fault a guy for doing that. He goes hard every play, and if he gets called for a penalty, I don't think he's worried about it. You've got to respect that about him."
Center Gino Gradkowski also weighed in: "I think they just play hard. Sometimes it can be misconstrued as dirty. But it's hard to say because I don't know him personally and I haven't faced him yet."
Running back Ray Rice said Suh and fellow defensive tackle Nick Fairley are "great football players" and said he has a lot of respect for them. But he did say they definitely live up to their reputation.
"I don't know if you want to call it physical or dirty," Rice said. "Whatever the refs see, that's what they see."
Suh was the second-overall pick in 2010 and went to the Pro Bowl that year and in 2012. He's likely headed back there again considering he has 42 tackles and 5.5 sacks this season as one of the most disruptive forces in the game.
As if Suh wasn't enough, the Lions drafted defensive tackle Nick Fairley in the first round two years later, 13th overall. Fairley is having a strong season with 25 tackles and 3.5 sacks thus far.
The two clog up the running lanes (Detroit was No. 1 against the run in the NFL before the Eagles broke out with 299 rushing yards in the snow last week), and are problematic from a pass rush standpoint as well.
"They've obviously got two great players," Shipley said. "They're top-10 picks for a reason. They've very athletic for how big they are. They play hard, they play aggressive, and they're really good in that scheme."
Shipley said the Lions mostly line up and let their front four attack opposing offensive lines. There isn't a whole lot of trickery because they believe they can win the one-on-one matchups. Detroit also had rookie first-round pick Ezekiel Ansah (seven sacks) at defensive end. The 6-foot-5, 271-pounder from BYU (via Ghana) is a big play waiting to happen.
"They're very confident in their front four to make plays. They have all the trust in the world in those guys and they let them just go play and play aggressive," Shipley said. "We're just going to have to keep getting after every play and try to match their intensity."